Technology and Society

Book Reviews
What's New
Privacy & Individual Rights
Commerce, Security, & the Law
Net Culture, Art, & Literature
International Affairs & National Security
Ethics, Rhetoric, & Metaphysics
Science Fiction

Other Resources
Other Book Review Sites

Title: Strategic Information Warfare
Author: Roger C. Molander, Andrew S. Riddile, Peter A. Wilson
Publisher: The RAND Corporation
Copyright: 1996
ISBN: 0-8330-2352-7
Pages: 90
Price: $15.00
Rating: 92%
Wargaming and event simulations are generally inaccessible parts of the policymaking process. Not only do the designers and commissioning group generally want to keep the exercise scenario a secret so as not to tip off their priorities to the competition , often the designers use a methodology they developed and that gives them a competitive advantage in the industry. The Rand Corporation and the National Defense Research Institute have done the reading public a great favor by releasing this study.

The simulation described in Strategic Information Warfare centers around an Iranian military push to take over Saudi Arabia in the year 2000. In this scenario, the Saudi kingdom has attempted to open its society, with attendant social upheaval, an d has suffered economically from a dramatic decline in oil prices. As the US stepped up its military response, the Iranians have initiated a campaign of strategic information infrastructure attacks against the US homeland. Targets include financial mark ets, CNN, phone companies, and train routing systems. The goal of the second stage of the engagement was to draw the participants away from a traditional military conflict they had probably wargamed before and present them with a conflict in the realm of "information". In fact, the designers had to reduce the Iranian's aggressiveness in the face of early groups' willingness to respond with overwhelming conventional military force.

The bulk of the report recounts the deliberations, philosophies, assessments, agreements, and disagreements of the groups taken through the exercise. The group compositions themselves make for some interesting reading:


  • RAND Washington
  • RAND Santa Monica
  • Experts from DOD, intelligence community, industry, academia
  • Experts, retired Flag officers (Generals, Admirals etc.)
  • DOD/industry: Two-star officers, Department of the Undersecretary of Defense, Department of Assistant Secretary of Defense, senior VP
  • DOD/industry: Four-star officers, Undersecretary of Defense, Assistant Secretary of Defense, CEO level
  • "Expanded executive branch participation"

Strategic Information Warfare illuminates a challenging and often obscure method for examining policy options. Any student of government or industrial decision making would be well advised to buy this book.

Curtis D. Frye (  is the editor and chief reviewer of Technology and Society Book Reviews.  He worked for four years as a defense industry analyst at The MITRE Corporation in McLean, VA, and is the author of Privacy-Enhanced Business, from Quorum Books.